A group looking to reverse changes to the city of Casper’s controversial public indoor smoking ordinance is on its way toward gathering the 2,460 signatures needed to force a special election in August.

287 people signed Keep Casper Smoke Free’s petition for a referendum on Friday during a rally at Conwell Park.

One of the group’s chairpeople, Kimberly Holloway, a former city councilor, says turnout at Friday’s event was strong.

"We had a nice, steady flow and there wasn't too much jam-up at the signature gathering area," Holloway said. "But, I think it went very well - we had people come over not from just the hospital for lunch, but people from all corners of the park."

Halloway says her group has been well received since the city’s revised smoking ordinance was approved by Casper City Council on June 18 – the city’s revised smoking ban was formally published and took effect Friday.

"I'm just excited about the energy behind this effort - we've had a lot of support, and I've gotten a lot a calls," Holloway said. "People are frustrated, but we're going to use that frustration to our benefit and the community's benefit."

The revised public indoor smoking ban permits smoking in Casper-based taverns, lounges, bars, private clubs, healthcare facilities and at certain work areas. Smoking, however, is still strictly disallowed at restaurants.

Several Casper service and manufacturing business owners have complained that revenues have been down sharply since the previous ban took effect last year.

Holloway says her group will attempt to gather more signatures at this weekend's Nic Fest.

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